counseling psych

"unless you're diagnosed, you can't have depression"

I saw a post a few days ago that has been irritating me. Someone said something along the lines of you cant just have depression (or specifically mdd) without having been diagnosed. Now I understand where they are coming from, being frustrated by (often) teenagers declaring they have “depression” having never been to a professional for an opinion and minimizing what depression really is, a long and difficult struggle not just a temporary feeling of sadness that occasionally plagues young people (maybe because their partner dumped them or their parents wont let them borrow the car). However I found this statement troublesome.

You do not only have major depressive disorder or any other physical or mental illness when the medical professional waves their little wand of diagnoses. Just as you can have, for example, breast cancer and be walking around undiagnosed and the disease is there wrecking real havoc on your body regardless of whether it has been identified, same with mental illness.  Not everyone is privileged enough to have access to mental health treatment or even knowledge of mental disorders but that does not mean their lives are not severely impacted. The person with schizophrenia may be experiencing audio hallucinations and never know something is wrong with them but have a decreased level of function or even be homeless and isolated. Someone with undiagnosed depression may be trying to self medicate, not entirely knowing they have “major depressive disorder” or “bipolar disorder” but know that they feel like shit and just want it to stop. Just because they are not sitting in an office twice a week and prescribed medication does not make their struggle any less real. 

So please, check your privilege and recognize the low level of accessibility of mental health services in certain communities. Maybe youre a teenage suburban girl who’s parents were both educated enough to recognize symptons of your disorder, cared enough to intervene, and had the financial means of getting you help and I am honestly SO happy because you (like everyone else) deserve happiness but just remember not everyone is so lucky.

thank you.

/end psa

I dunno if people do this to do, but my mum always asks me how my psychologist appointments were good and like if I tell her that I feel all yuck she’s all surprised like um hello do you know what I do in psych? I go in and tell him how much I want to die for an hour. It is emotionally draining and does not make me happy.